Happy New Year, Sorta

For some people, perhaps most obviously, it’s New Year’s Day, on whatever calendar they happen to follow. Others might use their birthday, or the coming of spring. For me, the day that has often marked a time of new beginnings, of starting over with optimism, is the first day of school.

First day of kindergarten, 1965. Dig the stylish sweater--and already with the beer gut!

First day of kindergarten, 1965. Dig the stylish sweater--and already with ape arms and the beer gut!

That statement, of course, reflects my inherent nerdiness. But what can I say? In my younger years, going back to school meant reuniting with the friends who lived too far for me to see regularly through the summer. And it meant, usually, winning praise from another teacher, strokes my little ego could always use. By high school, the new year meant I was that much closer to graduating and getting the hell out of Glastonbury. And in college, it meant a new round of classes I actually enjoyed, and more chances to write for the school newspaper (the low-tech blog of that bygone era).

I thought of all this as I walked around Yale last weekend, saw all the moving vans lining the streets and the small groups of students with parents and siblings strolling the sidewalks. And I thought, “Man, it would be nice to be starting college again.” Not at this age, though I wouldn’t mind a run at grad school (Yale School of Drama perchance?) if someone else were picking up the tab. No, even with all the pain of some of my college years and beyond, I thought that pathetic lament of the has-been/never-was middle-aged hack: I want to be 18 again, do it all over, do it right this time, really use my potential.

Of course, who’s to say it would come out any better, if I were 18 again with the same level of wisdom I had the first time?

Still, it’s nice to fantasize. And if things couldn’t turn out any better, maybe I would at least not commit myself to one woman during those years when you’re supposed to be going a little crazy with the opposite sex, you know what I mean. Of course, the stability of that one relationship also kept me focused on school, so maybe that was not a totally bad thing. And being totally realistic here,  who’s to say the women of Hampshire or UHa or UConn would have had anything to do with me. Certainly my dressing habits and physique hadn’t improved much since 1965.

Since I can’t turn back the clock, I want to at least use this time of autumnal reawakening to get myself back on track in so many ways. I can’t use the move and the newness of things and the Crisis itself as excuses for being a slug. So my school-year resolutions? Blog more. Start a new play. Find an activity outside of the house that gives me some pleasure (intellectual pleasure, that is).

Of course, the resolutions of this new year are not any more likely to pan out than those vowed on January 1 or my March birthday. But at least the weather’s nicer.

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~ by mburgan on September 4, 2009.

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